Tuesday, February 12, 2019

REVIEW: 'Miracle Workers' - Craig and Eliza Make a Bet with God to Save Earth from Implosion in '2 Weeks'

TBS' Miracle Workers - Episode 1.01 "2 Weeks"

Frustrated with the mess that Earth's become, God contemplates the end while two determined angels try to change his mind.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of TBS' Miracle Workers.

"2 Weeks" was written by Simon Rich and directed by Jorma Taccone

There is a very high bar for comedies set in the afterlife at the moment thanks to The Good Place. Just like the NBC comedy though, Miracle Workers features two beloved and well-known actors in Steve Buscemi and Daniel Radcliffe. It's also very telling that Geraldine Viswanathan is essentially the third lead here. Her character, Eliza, comes across as the straight woman to all of the hijinks that are currently going on at Heaven Inc. As such, she is simply reacting to everything that everyone else has fallen into the pattern of doing. She wants to change things. However, Radcliffe's Craig and Buscemi's God are the much more broad and crazy characters who define the wild and comedic hijinks of the overall show. And so, it's easy to see why Radcliffe and Buscemi would sign up for this project. It's actually really interesting to see this world present a version of God who is essentially checked out from trying to make a difference in the world he has created. Earth has simply become overpopulated. He can't get to the prayers of everyone. Plus, there are manmade disasters that are horrifying as well as the basic instincts of humanity. In fact, the show essentially presents the case that religion is only good when someone needs to find something they have just randomly misplaced. It consumes Craig's entire job to fulfill those requests though. And yet, he is happy to reunite people with their missing keys or gloves. He just has to dissolve some snow or blow some leafs out of the way in order to conduct this miracle. It is intervention from the great behind. But it's also very antiquated. The Department of Answered Prayers literally has to address every single molecule to ensure that it's not too obvious that they are interfering in the lives of humans. When Eliza tries to answer a big prayer, she inadvertently creates a typhoon. That's why everyone has gotten so stuck in their ways without trying to change the way that Earth is governed. They see a civilization that has grown too complex and there is nothing that can be done to simplify any of their problems. Eliza and Craig have that impulse to try at least. That's more than God can say at the moment. He loves it when his name is mentioned during a sports broadcast. However, he is so depressed by the news and how every single story seems to revolve around some tragedy that has just occurred. That's very topical. But again, this is an imaginative series that presents the idea that love could be the thing that saves the world from impulsion. This God loves to make bets. He may not be great at them. He sees the brilliance in his idea that combines a restaurant and a lazy Susan. It makes it difficult to believe that he's the guy everyone revers who created all of this to begin with. And yet, there is also the understanding that it would be no big deal if Earth were to implode. The angels could cash in on their pensions and vacation time while going to work in one of the other universes. Eliza and Craig actually want to save Earth. They just plan on doing so by helping two people fall in love. God sees that as a more difficult task than trying to save the rain forests or end all wars. It's definitely going to be tricky. But the characters are motivated to succeed. This is mostly just a premise pilot though which establishes the rules of the world and the characters operating within it. As such, it should be fascinating to see how all of this continues to develop across the season.